Why I’m a Darksider

I’ve always been a big fan of the dark side of the Force.  First of all, tell me it isn’t a sign of the dark side’s awesome skillz that there only needs to be two of them to balance all the light side Jedi.  But, more to the point of this post, I find the things that supposedly fuel the dark side — fear, anger, and jealousy — totally work for me as a writer.

Fear motivates me.  I know that writers like to joke about deadlines and that whizzing sound they make as they pass, but not me.  Right about now, in fact, which is to say half way through January, I usually start breaking out into a cold sweat and start counting the days until my novel is due on the publisher’s desk.  In fact, I write novels much like I used to write term papers.  I’m working right up to the last minute, and consequentally I usually do hear a bit of that whizzing sound, but only by a few days at most.  

And I spent a lot on FedEX overnight delivery.

Plus, it’s always been my contention that if you’re not a little bit afraid, you’re probably not challenging yourself enough.  Risks are scary, and you have to take real risks to succeed in any creative endeavor. 

Jealousy will also increase my productivity.  I’m very competative, and, most of the time, that works to my advantage.  If the business of writing was The Amazing Race, I’d totally be the type to misdirect my fellow travelers or use the “U-Turn” on them.  When someone in my writers’ group gets a new contract or a short story sale, I’m usually hit by a burst of creative energy in response.  I also continue to subscribe to LOCUS just so I can follow other people’s careers and compare them to my own.  As I’m not nearly as successful as most people that get reported on in LOCUS, this means a lot of jealous rage is then sublimated into my writing. 

Although I should note for the record, that despite being motivated to write when other people are doing better than I am, I actually believe there’s plenty of room in this business for everyone.  I encourage my students to submit to publishers.  I’m generous with my colleagues with contact and business information. 

Because of all the dark side motivators, anger is the one I don’t really relate to — at least not on a personal level.  Outrage at the current socio-political/economic system has been known to inspire my writing, however.   I think that kind of anger, properly focused, can make for some spectacular science fiction.   I’ve always manatained that SF can be very politically subversive precisely because it’s a good way to write about the evils of today’s world without having to name names.  So, anger can be cool.

Viva la Dark Side!

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There are 3 comments. Get the RSS feed for comments on this entry.

  1. 1. Josh Anderson

    Amen. No one is cooler than Darth Vader (post Episode II of course)…

  2. 2. Mike Brotherton

    Fear is the mind killer, the little death. Jealousy is a green-eyed monster. And you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry, Mr. McGee.

    And Star Wars, of course. Those things give you power, but you’ll wind up *ugly*!

    You’re not allowed to make sins into simonade. I blogged about such forbidden story themes in August: http://www.mikebrotherton.com/?p=197

  3. 3. bran fan

    I used to be afraid of my own anger. However, Julia Cameron taught me to see it as fuel. Are you more likely to do something about a situation that makes you angry, or one you don’t care much about?

    Yes, anger can be misused. I’m not talking about abusing your loved ones in the name of anger. I’m talking about “Look at this mess! I am so upset that my house is a pigsty! I must clean it at once!”

    It can act as a booster rocket to get us off our behinds, forcing us to act.

    Let’s hear it for anger!

Author Information

Lyda Morehouse

Lyda Morehouse is the author of the science fiction AngeLINK series. She's won the Shamus and the Philip K. Dick Special Citation for Excellence (aka 2nd place). Her books have also been nominated for the Romantic Times Critics' Choice and preliminary Nebula ballot. She lives in the deep-freeze of Saint Paul, MN with her partner of twenty-odd years, their son, and lots and lots of cats (and fish!) Visit site.

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